One sure sign of being fully rooted in middle age is parking your car at a shopping center and forgetting where you parked it. Can you relate? While living in Wisconsin, I found it easy to scan the lot and find my car quickly. But that is not the case here in southwest Florida.
We currently own a white SUV. Apparently, so does a large majority of Floridians. I have experienced a dreaded sense of panic while standing in the middle of a large parking lot filled with white SUV’s. I frantically start pushing my remote key hoping to hear my car lock clicking. My car fits in with the crowd. I live in the land of White Car Conformity.
I am challenged by the whole idea of conformity. If we claim to follow Christ and live according to Biblical standards, then we must not fit in but stand out. Its never been more difficult to do that than it is today. Our culture pressures us to believe what they believe, live like they live, talk like they talk. Ungodly ideas can easily drip into our thinking through social media, TV and Hollywood. It’s like squeezing us into a mold and we pop out as white SUV’s parked side by side.
I confess I am a bit of a “clothes horse.” Fashion trends can effect me, and so I need to take an honest look in the mirror before I buy clothing. Does it fit right? Is it modest? Will the color enter the room ten minutes before I do? Does my outfit reflect white car conformity?
The apostle Paul gave us a fantastic guideline to avoid conformity to anything that diverts our focus away from honoring God with our lives. I especially like Romans 12:2 in the Amplified version:
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
The verse is clear. We will never understand God’s will unless we turn away from fitting in and start standing out.